For nearly three decades, Minnesota Dairy Initiative has been helping dairy farms navigate important decisions, challenges, and growth opportunities.
Funded by a grant through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, our organization has undergone several name changes as we grew from individual regions across the state to a consolidated statewide structure on January 1, 2022.
MDI started in the early 1990’s with a pilot program on a dairy farm near Mayer in Carver County.
It’s estimated that our on-farm teams of 639 industry specialists have worked with over 1000 farms since that time. Many farms enrolled in Minnesota Dairy Initiative maintain that relationship for years. Once dairy farmers reach out to us and get involved, they instantly experience the value of working with their team of nutritionists, veterinarians, Extension educators and others to help them make smart business decisions for their dairy operation.
“You get things done when you have the person whom you have the question for sitting across the table. That was one thing we were after, and still are today.”Arlen Bode, 20+ year participant in MDI as featured in Dairy Star
In addition to coordinating on-farm teams for farmers, MDI is known for organizing several popular annual events with key partners to benefit dairy farmers and their families.
MDI Farm Couples Retreats
Annual winter events that rotate locations across Minnesota. Three different communities are selected each year to hopefully accommodate travel and attendance to as many farm couples as possible. Retreats are designed to give hardworking dairy farm couples a night off the farm, as well as a chance to improve their relationship, mental health, and communication skills.
Planning Your Dairy Farm Future (PYDFF)
Classes offered each winter. MDI partners with University of Minnesota Extension to plan these four-session classes to help dairy farmers plan for the future of their farm, create a business plan, set goals, and look to the future.
Producers Night Out
Events where industry professionals are invited to speak about current topics with dairy farmers. These are flexible events with dates and topics set based on the interests of dairy farmers in each particular area.
MDI from a Dairy Farmer’s Perspective
“Minnesota Dairy Initiative has been a great asset to our farm and many others. We have been having quarterly meetings for fifteen plus years. These meetings are a great way for different business vendors we work with to come together to communicate and discuss different areas of our farm. Oftentimes, there are good intentions to have meetings, but MDI helps plan these meetings that would often get left by the wayside in everyday farm life. Different benchmarks and goals are discussed to improve efficiency and profitability. It is a good way to get the veterinarian, nutritionist, agronomist, banker, etc. all together so everyone knows the overall goals and missions of the farm. Many great ideas have come about from these meetings. It is also great to hear areas of the operation that the farm does well. Minnesota Dairy Initiatives has been very beneficial for our farm, and I hope this will continue in the future.”
– Producer, Winona County
MDI is here to help you and your farm succeed!
Let us create a custom fit on-farm team that will help your operation set goals, make improvements, and plan for the future.